The MLK Day of Service is on Monday (just in case you’ve lost all sense of time and space) and instead of publishing a brunch guide or giving you recommendations on how to spend the day the day off, we wanted to highlight some volunteering opportunities. Best case scenario, we’d be volunteering all year round, helping people clean up parks, mentor youth and donating to the homeless, but if its been awhile since you did a little charity work, this is a great place to start.
Feed The Hood Day of Action – Serve DC is teaming up with National Black United Front for the first ever Feed The Hood Day of Action. Volunteers can sign up to provide 1,000 care packages to at risk families. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be standing for around two hours, and if you can, they’re asking for a donation of $10 towards the care packages.
Thursday Network’s 19th Annual Blanket & Toiletries Drive – One of the biggest volunteer opportunities available, Thursday Network is looking for people to donate a variety of food, hygiene products and home goods. You can donate money, purchase items off of their Amazon list or stop by their service event on Monday. And speaking of the actual service event, join them in assembling care packages at the Takoma Park Middle School. Their goal is to 1,200 packages to people in D.C., Prince George’s County and Montgomery County.
Rock Creek Conservancy – If you’re looking for an excuse to get outside and smell the fresh air, the Rock Creek Conservancy has events happening all over parks in D.C. on MLK Day. They’ve teamed up with the National Park Service and Montgomery Parks to host invasive species removal and trash clean ups in parks like Pierce Mill, Turkey Branch, Glenmont, Meadowbrook and (of course) Rock Creek park itself. Volunteer events start between 9:00 a.m. and 1 p.m., depending on which one sparks your interest.
Anacostia Riverkeeper – If you don’t mind getting a little wet, head to Pope Branch Park on Monday for a good old fashioned waterways cleanup. Anacostia Riverkeeper will provide all necessary supplies, plus there will be coffee from the Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company and breakfast sandwiches from Shake Shack.
The People’s Holiday – Join the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in celebrating MLK Day. Volunteers will help make no-sew fleece scarves and hats while listening to music performed by students from Howard University. These events will talk place between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
City Year – More interested on working inside? City Year is focusing on sprucing up Stuart-Hobson Middle School, Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School and J.O. Wilson Elementary School. Activities in past years have involved painting murals, kit making and light construction, so there should be a variety of options depending on your skill set. Be sure to RSVP before 12 p.m. on the January 16!
Edlavitch DCJCC – Team up with the Behrand Builders to paint and clean up a homeless shelter in NE D.C. They’ll supply the paint and brushes and no previous painting experience is required. Registration is mandatory, so sign up now!
Volunteer Arlington – If you’re located in Arlington there a slew of different service projects taking place on MLK Day. From learning how to administer Narcan to hosting Read Alouds to putting up flyers to purchasing items to go in welcome kits, there’s a little something for everyone.
Washington Parks & People – Head on over to Malcolm X / Meridian Hill Park with Washington Parks & People for a cleaning and revitalizing event. From removing trash to clearing out invasive species, you’ll be helping the park in a variety of ways. All tools and gloves will be supplied, so all you need to do is bring yourself.
Friends of Theodore Roosevelt Island – If you’re looking to really dig into the removal of invasive species, swing by Theodore Roosevelt Island. They’ll be providing folding saws, loppers and hand clippers, so you know they mean business. Make sure to wear long pants and sleeves because you’ll be working off the beaten path.
Human Rights Campaign – HRC is working with the Latin American Youth Center to make young people’s lives a little easier. They’ll be cleaning up and organizing the center itself from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., plus they’re asking for people to donate items to the LAYC Center.
Peace Walk & Parade – Become a part of the tradition and Join the 39th annual peace walk / parade! The walk starts at 11 a.m. at the corner of MLK Jr. Ave SE and Good Hope Road SE and this year there will also be a health a community fair at the R.I.S.E. Gateway Pavillion starting at 12 p.m.
Ri$e Up, Debt Down: MLK Financial Empowerment Day of Service – This is also the first year that Mayor’s Office is hosting a series of talks about financial planning. From 12:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., swing by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School to attend workshops about family savings, becoming your own boss, homeownership and credit.
Need more volunteering options? Want to do stuff all year round? Check out the guides below.